(Corrected passage on Merkel’s opening strategy in the 3rd paragraph)
BERLIN (dpa-AFX) – The Rhineland-Palatinate Prime Minister Malu Dreyer (SPD) has called for a concrete step-by-step plan for the way out of the Corona restrictions before consultations with the federal and state governments. Such a plan must be linked to “clear incidence values, test options and the vaccination rate,” said Dreyer of the “Rheinische Post” (Tuesday). This Tuesday, a working group with Chancellor Helge Braun (CDU) and the heads of the state chancelleries will begin talks. The next meeting of the heads of government of the federal and state levels with decisions is planned for March 3rd.
Health Minister Jens Spahn (CDU) has been criticized because the general rapid tests announced for March 1st are not coming so quickly after all. FDP leader Christian Lindner regretted the postponement on Twitter. “The disappointment at the start of the vaccination must not be repeated.” SPD parliamentary group vice-president Bärbel Bas told the German press agency: “Precisely where measures are withdrawn, rapid tests must be available.” Spahn must now make sure that this happens quickly.
According to participants, Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) spoke out in the CDU presidium on Monday in favor of carefully developing strategies for further possible openings. She mentioned three areas: personal contacts, schools and vocational schools and, as a third area, sports groups, restaurants and culture. The federal-state working group should prepare this by March 3rd. According to previous plans, other shops should then be allowed to reopen in the second week of March – but only in regions where there are no more than 35 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants within seven days.
On Tuesday morning, the seven-day incidence nationwide was 60.5, according to the Robert Koch Institute. The health authorities reported 3883 new corona infections to the RKI within one day, and 415 further deaths were recorded. Exactly one week ago, the RKI had reported 3856 new infections and 528 new deaths. According to the management report from Monday evening, the nationwide seven-day R value is 1.05 (previous day 1.10). This means that 100 infected people theoretically infect 105 more people.
It is feared that the spread of more contagious variants of the virus will push values up again. CDU / CSU parliamentary group leader Ralph Brinkhaus said on Monday evening in the ARD “Tagesthemen” that it was “very unlikely” that the value of 35 would be reached. “One thing would be very, very bad: If we loosen up now and then have to take the step back in three or four weeks. And then have to go back into lockdown.”
Prime Minister Dreyer did not rule out that the existing corona restrictions could be extended again beyond March 7th. “But we need specific and binding targets that people can use for orientation.” The deputy FDP chairman Wolfgang Kubicki criticized in the “Welt” that such concepts had to be presented by the federal and state governments long ago.
The plans to vaccinate kindergarten teachers earlier mostly met with approval. According to this, “people who work in childcare facilities, daycare and primary schools” should move from the third to the second group in the vaccination sequence. About a million people are affected. When exactly it will be their turn, however, is still unclear.
The president of the German teachers’ association, Heinz-Peter Meidinger, called the decision in the “Bild” newspaper (Tuesday) overdue. The chairman of the Education and Science Union (GEW), Marlis Tepe, asked the editorial network Germany (RND) that teachers at other types of schools should also be vaccinated earlier. The Patient Protection Foundation, on the other hand, criticized the RND for giving preference to individual professional groups for vaccination.
SPD health expert Karl Lauterbach considers the school opening to be premature. He told the Funke media group: “From my point of view, it would make sense to only open schools if the testing of children with antigen self-tests is guaranteed – and they are not yet approved.” After about two months of closure and emergency care, daycare centers and elementary schools in ten federal states were partially reopened on Monday. / Cs / zeh / DP / nas